How To Clean Paint Brushes? Complete guide to clean them like a pro!!

How To Clean Paint Brushes

Are you a wall painter or an artist? Because this article is going to answer the most common question that you must have faced once or twice. Whether you are an artist who does wall paintings or a painter, you must come across a situation where you will be confused about cleaning the brushes after painting. If you have painted your entire home with colors or you have made beautiful illustrations on the wall, and now you are wondering how to clean the paint from brushes, then read the entire article to know how to clean paint brushes like a pro.

It’s essential to clean them after painting as it will increase the life of brushes. There are a lot of methods to clean the brushes; however, some paints require particular methods to clean them.

Why is it necessary to clean paint brushes after use?

Expense on costly brushes will be in vain if you are not cleaning and storing them properly. If it is not cleaned, then the paint that remains in the bristles will affect the shape of the brush, which also hampers your next project finish. Moreover, the brush life is decreased, and sometimes you have to show the door to the brush. Therefore, it is mandatory to know how to clean paint brushes and restore their original shape for more prolonged use.


How to Clean Paint Brushes?

There are different methods to clean brushes according to different types of paint. After painting, the first thing you should do is clean the bristles, but sometimes we forget to do that and leave them overnight and find them stiff and dry. Here are different ways to make them clean and soft brush bristles. Spend a minute or so to clean the brush and follow the step below on how to clean paint brushes

Before cleaning the brushes, first, you have to take care of some things that are mentioned below:

Materials/Tools which may be used to clean the brush

  • Mild dish Washer
  • Newspaper
  • Rag or Paper Towel
  • Turpentine oil
  • Plastic Buckets/Bowl
  • Gloves

Choosing the correct solvent

The first preparatory step is to gather all the tools and materials necessary for the process. The second initial step is to choose the appropriate solvent to remove the paint.

You can easily choose the solvent as it’s pretty easy to select. You must know about the paint’s nature; There are two types of paints. One is oil-based, and the other is non-oil-based. If the color is not oil-based, then use any kind of paint thinner; however, if the paint is oil-based, use a solvent like turpentine or use the formula, especially for oil-based paints.

How To Clean Paint Brushes

What are the things that should be kept in mind before using solvent?

Always know about the toxicity and strength of the solvents before using them. Some solvents are so toxic that you can’t breathe properly after smelling for a few seconds. Use these solvents in an open area or keep proper ventilation in a secure place. Use an appropriate respiratory mask if needed.

Different Methods to clean Paintbrushes

How to clean the paintbrushes; Below are the different and most common methods to use.

Ist Method: Use mild dish soap to clean the brushes

This method is mainly used for oil-based paints.

  1. Remove the excess paint by squeezing the brush over the paint can or gently rubbing it on the paper towel or rag.
  2. Take an appropriate amount of dish wash in a bowl or on your palm, dip the brush in it, and move it in a circular motion. Moreover, warm water should be running throughout the process. Do this until there is no residue of paint remaining in the brush.
  3. In an airy environment, let it dry for a while and store it carefully. The brush will regain its original shape.

IInd Method: Use Paint thinners for non-oily paints

The most used method is to remove the colors from the brush.

  1. Remove the excess paint as taught above.
  2. Dip the brush in a bucket, add paint thinner, completely immersing the bristles, and leave it for a while.
  3. Total immersion of the brushes leads to no paint in the brushes
  4. Store it with proper care.

IIIrd Method: Another method is to use solvents 

  1. If you have used solvent remaining from the previous painting work, you can use it for the first time.
  2. Gently move the brush in a used solvent bowl in a circular motion. And for the second time, you can take unused solvent to clean it again.
  3. Then dip the brush in soapy water and rub it between your fingers.
  4. Rinse the brushes under the running water.
  5. Dry the brush and store them carefully in their original packing.

Note: Use solvent multiple times if needed. Moreover, be careful while using the solvents. Always use solvents according to the nature of the paint.

Image Credit: HGTV

IVth Method: Use Vinegar basically for hardened brushes

If the paint in the brush remained by mistake and you left them overnight. As a result, you will find the brush bristles are hardened.

Soak the hardened brush in the bowl full of vinegar and leave it for one hour. Keep an eye to check up on the brush’s bristles are softened after an hour or not. If not, immerse it again for an hour.

  1. Even after two hours, boil the vinegar while keeping the brush in it if the brush is not soft.
  2.  Remove the brush from boiling water and let it cool for a while. After that, try to detangle the bristles using the fingers or brush comb.
  3. Wash the brush under running water and repeat the process if necessary.
  4. Dry naturally or use a dryer and store carefully.

Vth Method: Another method is to use a Fabric softener.

  1. Wipe out the excess amount of paint from the brush by rubbing gently on the paper towel
  2. Soak the brush in 3.8 liters of lukewarm water and mix half a cup of fabric softener in it.
  3. Move the brushes in a circular motion inside the mixture for a few seconds
  4. Watch the paint coming out from the brush and do the same process for a minute or so if needed.
  5. After the removal of color in the mixture, remove the excess softener by squeezing the bristles with a gentle hand
  6. Dry the brush entirely so that no moisture remains. Otherwise, it will weaken the bristles.
  7. Store the brushes in a safe place for subsequent use.

You must be wondering whether you can use the above methods to clean the art brushes. Let’s solve this problem for you as well.

If you are an artist who loves to paint either on a wall or canvas, then you must need to know how to clean the paintbrush and how to take care of your brushes after use.

If you are an artist, it’s ubiquitous to spend most of your time making paintings. And you must have your favorite brushes yet costlier ones in your stock. So to preserve them for more prolonged use, you must take necessary measures to prevent them from ruining.

image credit: The Home Depot

Guide to using Art Brushes

If you love to make paintings, I am pretty sure that you know that there are two types of brushes.

  • Synthetic bristle
  • Natural bristle

Both brushes have distinct roles. However, it also depends on the user. Natural bristles are made from animals’ hair. And the synthetic brushes copy the natural bristle.

Always use acrylic color with synthetic brushes only in order to protect natural brushes. However, for watercolors and oil-based colors, use natural bristles that will give a satisfying finish to the painting. The choice is always yours. You can use any kind of brush with every type of color. Like paintbrushes, art brushes need proper cleaning and care too for more extended use. The cleaning method also depends on what kind of brush you are using with which type of color.

How to Clean Paint Brushes: Guide to clean art brushes

  • If you use acrylic colors or watercolors, you can simply dip them in mild dish wash for a while and rinse them with running water and dry them thoroughly to preserve the bristles for longer use.
  • If you use oil-based color and want to clean brushes after their service, then clean with turpentine oil. Turpentine oil is strong. Its excess use can ruin the brush. Always rinse under water and squeeze the brush to remove the excess solvent to avoid such a situation.

Store the brushes carefully.

After knowing how to clean paint brushes; There is a need to know how to store them properly. Just like there are different methods to clean the brushes according to the material, in the same way, there are various methods to keep them.

After rinsing the brushes with clean water or removing the excess solvents, you must dry the brushes either by hanging them or placing them horizontally. You can use the dryer also to do the work.

Store the brushes in a pouch or wooden box according to storage availability. You can also use a cloth bag to store them or put them in a pencil box or mugs. However, it is advisable to use natural brushes in an airtight container to protect the brushes from contamination. If the brushes come in contact with the insects present in the air, they will ruin the bristles.

Note: Keep the brushes in big pouches or boxes to protect the shape of the bristles. Also, the pouches should have proper strands space to protect them from the fold.


Everything needs proper care, whether it’s a living or non-living thing. To increase the life of the brushes, one must know the proper techniques on how to clean the paintbrushes and use them after completing the work. Or consider the cleaning process as part of the work. This way, you can never forget taking care of your brushes, and it will not ruin the shape and bristles. I hope you find this article useful. For more information, could you keep checking the site and bookmark us?

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